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Muscle Meals

What do you get when you combine healthy, performance-boosting ingredients and a little creativity? These amazing macro-friendly recipes.

Muscle Meals

Baked Cinnamon Apple

I’m a big believer in the power of apples. The skins are rich in polyphenols that have been shown to improve strength and fat loss. But many people get bored chewing on apples day after day. So, if you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy an apple that tastes closer to apple pie, this recipe is just the ticket.

For more information on the power of apple polyphenols, read my Ursolic Acid or 5 Pre-Workout Power Foods articles, and/or watch the below video.

Ingredients
  • 1 large apple (choose your favorite, but Fuji are one of the highest in polyphenols)
  • 1 Tbsp softened butter (preferably from grass-fed cows)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Core the apple, but leave bottom intact. Fill core with butter, add sugar and cinnamon, and mix in apple.

Place the apple in a shallow baking pan, fill the pan with a half-inch of water, and place it in the oven.

Bake for 40-60 minutes. Let apple cool, slice... and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
  • 260 calories
  • 1 g protein
  • 40 g carbs
  • 10 g fat
  • 6 g fiber

Here's a video I shot for my Muscle & Fitness Raw 2.0 series on apple polyphenols:

 

Bulletproof Pro JYM

by Chef Seth Santoro

I'd like to thank Dr. Jim Stoppani for giving me the opportunity to share my recipes as a featured contributor to JimStoppani.com. I'll be offering delicious and healthy recipes, as well as helpful cooking and nutrition tips, on a regular basis to help keep you on track with your fitness goals while enjoying great-tasting meals along the way. Enjoy!

Many of you, I'm sure, are fans of Bulletproof Coffee as a means of starting off your day with a jolt of caffeine and a hearty dose of fats. Well, this recipe is my take on Bulletproof. It's a very simple recipe with two notable changes from the original branded formula: (1) More protein added via a scoop of Pro JYM, and (2) coconut/MCT oil instead of grass-fed butter.

Mix this coffee beverage up hot or cold, in either a blender or shaker cup, and enjoy the protein boost, the delicious flavor from the healthy fats and, of course, the caffeine jolt!

Ingredients

*For added caffeine and caramel flavor, feel free to use Caramel Macchiato-flavored Pro JYM; to make a "mocha" version of this recipe, use Chocolate Mousse Pro JYM.

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender or shaker and mix.

This recipe can be prepared either hot/warm or cold. If doing it cold and adding ice, you can either put ice cubes into the glass after it's mixed or add the ice beforehand; if doing the latter, make sure you're using a blender so that the ice gets crushed up properly. If making it hot, be careful it's not too hot because it can explode due to the pressure when making it.

Nutrition Info
  • 240 calories
  • 24 g protein
  • 4 g carbs
  • 17 g fat

Here's a video of me making this recipe while Jim provides color commentary on the ingredients:

 

Red Boost Protein Shake

by Chef Seth Santoro

Here's a great protein shake concoction that can be used either as a snack or a pre-workout meal. There's some nice nutrients in this—the high-quality protein blend from the Pro JYM, nitrates from the beets, a low-glycemic carb and antioxidant source from the strawberries, and then a dash of flavor with the cinnamon.

If you're not a big fan of how beets taste, not a problem—the strawberries and Pro JYM mask the taste pretty well. I highly recommend keeping the beets in the shake for their health-boosting and performance-enhancing benefits; Jim covers these benefits in his Power Foods article.

Try this shake out, and if you like it, share it with others on the JYM Army Facebook page. Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 2 scoops Red Velvet Cake Pro JYM
  • 8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk*
  • 4 oz. water
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 boiled beets
  • Cinnamon to taste (I recommend 1 tbsp.)

*Not whole-fat coconut milk in a can; rather, coconut milk in a carton you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store (ie, Silk brand coconut Milk).

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix.

Nutrition Info
  • 499 calories
  • 55 g protein
  • 45 g carbs
  • 11 g fat

Here's a video of me making the Red Boost shake while Jim provides color commentary on all the ingredients:

 

The Hulk Protein Shake

by Chef Seth Santoro

The name of this protein shake says it all: "The Hulk.” It’s green and it’s great for building quality muscle mass. The color also matches many of Jim’s green tattoos. What else would you call it?!

The Hulk shake uses Mint Chocolate Chip Pro JYM as well as several other healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients—specifically, MCT oil, cilantro, apples, spinach and frozen bananas. It’s got a great macronutrient profile, is great any time of day as a high-protein meal or snack, and it tastes great. Even Jim himself was shocked that this combination of ingredients tastes as great as it does.

Try this shake concoction out and let us know how you like it on the JYM Army Facebook page. You can also reach out to Jim personally on his Facebook and/or Twitter pages and tell him what you think.

Ingredients
  • 2 scoops Mint Chocolate Chip Pro JYM
  • 2 cups coconut milk or almond milk (or water*)
  • 1 tbsp MCT Oil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 medium banana, sliced fresh or frozen

*To reduce calories and carbs, use water (12 ounces should work based on consistency)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix.

Nutrition Info*
  • 696 calories
  • 49 g protein
  • 64 g carbs
  • 26 g fat

Here's a video of me making The Hulk with Jim while he provides great explanation of all the beneficial ingredients and nutrients in the shake:

 

Caramel Macchiato Protein Shake

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

If you're looking for a protein shake concoction that hits on all your key macros—high-quality protein, healthy fat and non-processed carbs—I've got a good one for you. It comes from a JYM Army member who tells me he's been fixing this shake in the mornings using my insanely delicious Caramel Macchiato-flavored Pro JYM, which contains 40 mg of caffeine to provide a modest "kickstart" for his day. (Caramel Macchiato is the only Pro JYM flavor that contains caffeine, by the way.)

Personally, I don't eat in the morning because I follow an intermittent fasting (IF) nutrition regimen, but I know a lot of people like to start their day with a shake. This one in particular can also serve as a snack in a mass-gaining phase due to the fats from almond butter and carbs from the banana, not to mention the ideal blend of whey, casein and egg protein in Pro JYM. 

Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like the Caramel Macchiato flavor. Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 scoop Caramel Macchiato Pro JYM
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk*
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 medium banana
  • Handful of ice

*Regular unsweetened almond milk provides around 40 calories per cup (depending on the brand). Sweetened almond milk typically provides somewhere around 60-80 calories, so factor that into your macros if you go the sweetened route.

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix.

Nutrition Info
  • 386 calories
  • 28 g protein
  • 36 g carbs
  • 15 g fat
Notes

The above nutrition information is factoring in one tablespoon of almond butter; if you decide to use two tablespoons, the macros become roughly 487 calories, 30 g protein, 39 g carbs and 24 g fat.

If you want more protein, do two scoops of Pro JYM instead of one. With two scoops (and two tablespoons of almond butter), the macros become 627 calories, 54 g protein, 43 g carbs and 27 g fat.

 

French Apple Pie Protein Shake

by Chef Seth Santoro

If you like apple pie but prefer to enjoy it guilt-free, you're going to love this protein shake. This particular concoction will have a slightly different texture than most shakes because it contains crushed up graham crackers and is designed to be made in a shaker cup instead of a blender.

This recipe makes for a good post-workout shake, but it can also be enjoyed as a snack or a low-calorie, high protein dessert.

Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 scoop Tahitian Vanilla Bean Pro JYM
  • 4-6 oz. water
  • 4 oz. apple juice (I use unfiltered organic)
  • 2 graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • Cinnamon to taste
Directions

In a shaker cup, crumble the graham crackers, then add lid and shake to further break up the crackers. Add the rest of the ingredients (water, apple juice, Pro JYM, applesauce and cinnamon) and shake until full mixed.

Nutrition Info
  • 191 calories
  • 24 g protein
  • 23 g carbs
  • 4 g fat

 

Egg and Black Bean Scramble

by Chef Seth Santoro

There's nothing wrong with whipping up plain scrambled eggs most mornings when you're in a rush to get out the door for work, school or the gym. But taking the extra time when possible to add a few more ingredients can produce a nice change-of-pace egg breakfast. The below scramble features black beans for a big boost in fiber without adding too many carbs. On top of that, onions, bell pepper, spinach and avocado add great natural flavors and a ton of healthy nutrients. If you're not a big breakfast person, this makes for a great lunch or dinner too.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans (canned is okay)
  • 2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/8 cup red bell pepper
  • 1 small diced Roma tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 avocado
Directions

Spray a pan with coconut or olive oil spray and sauté garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes and spinach Add turmeric and beans and stir well enough to mix turmeric through. Add eggs and scramble. Top with sliced avocado.

Nutrition Info
  • 290 calories
  • 23 g protein
  • 27 g carbs
  • 10 g fat

 

Low-Carb Thai Omelette

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

Many people get bored of so-called "staple" foods like eggs and chicken breasts, especially when they eat them everyday. I definitely believe in eating eggs daily—three eggs a day, in fact, which I discuss in this article—but I don't always eat them the same way. I have several egg recipes in my Macro-Friendly Meals article including my Cheesy Ham Scramble, and another of my favorites is this delicious Thai omelette.

This meal is anything but boring, as it contains all five of the human palate's known fundamental tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Aside from how delicious it is, my Thai omelette is also physique-friendly—it has virtually no carbs, making it suitable for even the strictest get-lean diet. However, if you're not following a low-carb diet, that's fine too; just add a side of oatmeal, sourdough toast or fruit to the omelet. (Or hashbrowns if you're enjoying a cheat meal!)

Let me know how you like this recipe by reaching out to me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Ingredients
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 4 ounces uncooked shrimp*
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I use thin Thai soy sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG (monosodium glutamate)**
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil***
Ingredient Notes

*If you don't like shrimp or don't have it available, feel free to use a different protein source like pork, beef or chicken. If you do this, make sure the meat is cooked beforehand. I like using uncooked shrimp for the omelet so that it doesn't get too rubbery cooking it further with the eggs.

**This adds that umami taste. If you have a problem with MSG, by all means leave it out.

***To coat the frying pan. You can use olive oil or grass-fed butter here if you like.

Directions

Scramble eggs in a bowl, then add sliced green onions, shrimp, soy sauce and MSG to the eggs and stir again. (I recommend about a teaspoon of soy sauce, but feel free to go off taste when making this yourself.)

Heat a frying pan on the stove at medium-high and add coconut oil (or olive oil or butter) to the pan. Once the pan is nice and hot, pour in the scrambled egg mixture. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes, so that the bottom is solid, then flip it over and cook the other side, around 2-3 minutes. (You'll want the shrimp to get cooked in the pan since it's uncooked to begin with.) From there, put it on a plate with a spatula, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 478 calories
  • 43 g protein
  • 5 g carbs
  • 31 g fat

*With shrimp and coconut oil. If you use another protein source, like pork, beef or chicken, and/or a different type of oil or butter, that will change the macros.

Here's a video of me fixing this Thai omelet recipe:

 

Power Pancakes

I love a good breakfast, regardless of what time of day it is—morning, afternoon or evening (the latter two especially because I've been following an intermittent fasting plan lately). Eggs are one of the best sources of protein you can find, so that's usually the foundation of the meal. But I also enjoy pancakes, provided I'm not dropping carbs with a photo shoot approaching or something like. One thing I've discovered since creating JYM Supplement Science is that Pro JYM, my blended protein powder, goes really well with pancake mix.

The rest of the JYM Army has discovered this, too. And to be honest, I'm not that creative when it comes to pancake recipes. But one JYM Army member is—Justin Kamb. I recently asked Justin to share some of his favorite pancake recipes with the rest of the JYM Army, and he came through with four delicious, protein-packed meals.

Check out Justin's pancake recipes below, with just one caveat: Make sure it fits your macros, as some tend to be a little high in carbohydrates. You can find my recommended macronutrient guidelines for getting lean in my Dieting 101 article. If a recipe you want to try exceeds your macros and is higher in calories than you'd like, either split it with someone else or cut all ingredient amounts in half.

Enjoy!

Power Pancake Recipe #1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kodiak Cakes
  • 1 scoop Pro JYM (flavor of your choice)

Directions

Add water or milk for consistency, cook on griddle, and top with calorie-free Walden Farm pancake syrup. If you want have them post-workout (where some extra sugar is not only acceptable but preferable), top with some goodies like Pop Tarts, Oreos, Teddy Grahams, etc.

Nutrition Info*

  • 540 calories
  • 52 grams protein
  • 67 grams carbs
  • 8 grams fat

*Total for all ingredients listed, not including toppings. Walden Farm syrup is calorie-free.

Power Pancake Recipe #2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop Pro JYM
  • Milk (small amount)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (topping)

Directions

Mix first three ingredients in a bowl and cook into pancakes as you normally would with pancake batter. "If you mix 1/2-1 scoop of Pro JYM in a small bowl with a little milk, it makes a Pro JYM protein sauce for pancakes," says Justin.

Nutrition Info*

  • 409 calories
  • 48 grams protein
  • 39 grams carbs
  • 7 grams fat

*With Greek yogurt and 2 Tbsp. of 2% milk; you may choose to use slightly more milk than that.

Power Pancake Recipe #3

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop Pro JYM
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (topping)
  • Cool Whip (topping)

Directions

Add milk or water to consistency, cook on griddle, and top with natural peanut butter and fat free cool whip. To cut calories and fat, you can leave out the peanut butter, which will you save you 210 calories, 16 grams of fat and 6 grams of carbs (while cutting 7 grams of protein).

Nutrition Info

  • 588 calories
  • 45 grams protein
  • 35 grams carbs
  • 27 grams fat
Power Pancake Recipe #4

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Pro JYM
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or 3 egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/2 banana (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries or fruit of choice (apples taste great too)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and cook on a griddle.

Nutrition Info*

  • 457 calories
  • 42 grams protein
  • 56 grams carbs
  • 7 grams fat

*With blueberries

Power Pancake Recipe #5

This fifth recipe is actually one I came up with and thought it was fitting to add to this article. Cook these pancakes up for the whole family—parents and kids—you've got high-quality protein as well as low-glycemic carbs and healthy fats.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 scoop Tahitian Vanilla Bean Pro JYM
  • 1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Butter ("Justin's" brand)

Directions

Mix all but the last ingredient (chocolate hazelnut butter) in a large bowl. Pour the pancake mix on a heated pan/skillet coated with grass-fed butter. Cook until done, then dress the pancakes with the Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.

Nutrition Info*

  • 485 calories
  • 38 grams protein
  • 45 grams carbs
  • 18 grams fat

*Macros here factor in 1 tablespoon of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter spread on pancakes; it's very easy to use more than that, so add it to your macros if you do.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal

by Chef Seth Santoro

This recipe combines one of the greatest taste combinations there is (peanut butter and chocolate) and a true bodybuilding carbohydrate staple (oatmeal). This may not be the first choice for someone currently trying to remain strict on a super low-carb diet, but otherwise it's a great snack or small meal with ample fiber, quality carbs, a serving of fruit and healthy fat.

Enjoy this any time of day, even for dessert. That's how delicious it is!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. PB2 (peanut butter powder)*
  • 1-2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. raw brown sugar
  • 1 banana

*For a higher fat option, you can use regular peanut butter or almond butter and still add the cocoa powder.

Directions

In a small pot or pan, add oatmeal and water and heat until water boils. Reduce heat and cover 2-3 minutes (until water is absorbed). Then, add the PB2, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Put into a bowl, slice the banana and add that on top of the oatmeal. Serve and enjoy.

A great complimentary drink with this recipe (since, as written, the recipe is pretty low in protein) would be a 50/50 mix of Banana Cream Pie Pro JYM and Chocolate Mousse Pro JYM. You can mix the Pro JYM into the oatmeal if you really want to (add 4-6 ounces of additional water to the recipe if you do), but I prefer to have it on the side to not disrupt the texture of the recipe.

Nutrition Info
  • 369 calories
  • 12 g protein
  • 69 g carbs
  • 5 g fat

*For a lower carb option, mix in Banana Cream Pie Pro JYM  and halve or eliminate the actual banana from the recipe. If adding protein, include 4-6 ounces more of water.

 

Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

Dairy is a great source of quality protein. After all, it's composed of both casein protein and whey protein. These are two proteins that have a plethora of research supporting their ability to boost muscle growth. Dairy includes mainly milk, cottage cheese, cheese and yogurt. Yogurt is a popular snack food due to the fact that many flavored varieties taste great. But even plain yogurt tends to be very high in carbs and not all that loaded with protein. One cup of low-fat plain yogurt has only 12 grams of protein and 16 grams of carbs, while one cup of low-fat fruit yogurt has only 9 grams of protein and a whopping 42 grams of carbs. Whether you go plain or fruity, yogurt is really not the best snack for those interested in building lean muscle. But there is a yogurt that is a much better snack for keeping fat on and building muscle up—Greek yogurt.

Both plain yogurt and Greek yogurt start from milk and each have beneficial bacterial cultures added to them. But after having these cultures added to it, Greek yogurt is left to rest in cheesecloth, which allows the water to drain away to leave a much thicker yogurt. This also allows a good deal of the carbs (lactose) to drain away, which means that Greek yogurt is much lower in carbs than plain yogurt. In fact, one cup of Greek yogurt contains just 9 grams of carbs. Greek yogurt is also much higher in protein than plain yogurt. One cup of Greek yogurt gives you 20 grams of quality protein, with a good portion of that coming in the form of casein protein. Since casein protein is a very slow-digesting protein, it's especially good as a snack when your next meal may be a while. I like to eat Greek yogurt as a nighttime snack since the casein protein will provide a slow and steady stream of amino acids to my body while I am fasting in slumber town.

The only drawback to Greek yogurt is its tart taste. So few of you will enjoy it plain out of the container. Here's one of my favorite Greek yogurt recipes, which adds some healthy monounsaturated fats from peanut butter to further slow down the digestion of the protein.

Ingredients
  • 8 oz. reduced-fat (2%) Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Directions

Add peanut butter and honey to yogurt. Mix thoroughly and enjoy!

Nutritional info
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Carbs: 12 g
  • Fat: 8 g

 

Low-Carb Fluffernutter

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

It's time to have a little fun with my Muscle Meals. I'll be honest, this is a treat, not necessarily a muscle-building meal. As you know, I like to eat healthy, but I also like to enjoy delicious foods from time to time that aren't so healthy. I'm able to do this and still stay lean by following a particular style of intermittent fasting: My Intermittent Fasting Carb Cycle Diet.

When I'm in my feeding window and in the mood for something tasty, I absolutely LOVE the fluffernutter—a sandwich popular in the Northeast (I grew up in Connecticut) that consists of marshmallow "fluff" and peanut butter slathered on two slices of bread.

This combination of ingredients may sound odd, but trust me, it's delicious! Sometimes I'll splurge and go all out with the classic fluffernutter sandwich, but when I want to keep carbs in check and make my fluffernutter a relatively "clean" and guilt-free snack, I'll simply lose the bread. After all, it's the peanut butter and marshmallow that give the fluffernutter its great taste!

It's hard to even call this is a recipe, but I will anyway. Give this snack a try anytime you have a vicious sweets craving but don't want to succumb to a 500-1,000-calorie sugar binge. My low-carb fluffernutter will only set you back around 9 carbs and 100 calories! And best of all, it takes literally seconds to prepare! Here it is...

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or nut butter)
  • 1 Tbsp Marshmallow Fluff
Directions

Get two spoons. In one, scoop up a tablespoon (give or take) of peanut butter; in the other, scoop up a tablespoon (give or take) of fluff. Mix ingredients in your mouth. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info
  • 105 calories
  • 3 g protein
  • 9 g carbs
  • 8 g fat

Tip: To turn your low-carb fluffernutter into a high-protein snack: Simply accompany it with 1-2 scoops of Pro JYM mixed in water and drink that on the side. This will add 24 or 48 grams of protein (depending on the number of scoops) to the snack. I highly recommend using Chocolate Mousse-flavored Pro JYM and drinking it immediately after swallowing the fluffernutter to get the chocolate and peanut butter flavor in your mouth. Delicious!

 

Low-Carb Italian Sub

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

If you’re not accustomed to eating low carb, you may think your options for meals are quite limited. But if you’ve looked through my recipe articles in the Nutrition section on the site, you know I have numerous low-carb options that are delicious and easy to prepare. All it takes is some creativity for a limitless array of healthy, tasty options.

This low-carb Italian sandwich is one of my favorite choices for lunch or a snack. I’m Italian and grew up in an Italian neighborhood in the Northeast, so I’ve eaten my fair share of Italian grinders. (A “grinder” is what us Northeasterners call a “sub.”) Unfortunately, after you count the bread, salami, Italian ham, provolone cheese and dressing, the typical Italian grinder doesn’t fit most daily diets due to the massive amounts of carbs and fat.

My version of the sub skips the bread and replaces the salami, ham and cheese with reduced- or low-fat versions. Provolone cheese is a firm cheese, so it’s the perfect substitute for bread. My grinder still includes roasted Italian peppers, and you can use mustard or low-fat mayo for dressing to enhance the taste. It’s easy to make and absolutely delicious when you customize it to suit your personal sandwich preferences. Plus, it’s physique friendly!

Ingredients
  • 4 oz. low-fat deli ham
  • 2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
  • 6-8 slices reduced fat salami
  • 1 oz. roasted Italian peppers
  • 1-2 lettuce leaves
  • 1 tbsp mustard (or low-fat mayo)
Directions

Place one slice of provolone cheese on a plate. Cover cheese with mustard or mayo. Layer the ham on top of the cheese. Layer the salami on top of the ham. Place roasted peppers on top of the salami and lettuce on top of the peppers. Coat the remaining slice of cheese with mustard or low-fat mayonnaise and place on top of the meat and veggies to make a sandwich. Enjoy!  

Nutrition info
  • 320 calories
  • 40 grams protein
  • 9 grams carbs
  • 15 grams fat

 

Cilantro and Mint Marinade

by Chef Seth Santoro

Cooking chicken or fish again for dinner? Sounds good, since both are great sources of protein for building muscle and strength and staying lean.

Fortunately, another chicken/fish night at your home doesn't have to be the same old-same old—just try a different marinade and the meal will taste completely new and completely delicious as well.

That's what I've concocted here: A cilantro and mint marinade that can go with the chicken or fish you've eaten many times over. With a diverse combination of flavors (garlic, green onions, fresh pepper, plus a few others, in addition to the cilantro and mint), this definitely won't taste like the same old meal. And it also won't wreck your diet. It's a very macro-friendly and tasty sauce. Enjoy it!

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 green onions
  • 1 fresh pepper (Red, Jalapeno or Serrano)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 pound of boneless chicken or fish of choice (cod and sole are both good options here)
Directions

Peel cloves of garlic, trim green onions and fresh pepper, then place into a food processor. Add 1/8 cup chopped cilantro and 2 tablespoons of mint. Finely grate in the zest from one lemon and squeeze in the juice. Process until finely chopped.

Add olive oil, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and loosen with spoon or spatula. Place into a large bowl

Add boneless chicken breast or fish (your choice) to the marinade and stir until well coated. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Cooking methods

Chicken:
 Grill or Pan fly 6-8 minutes per side.

Fish
: Grill or sear 2-4 minutes per side.

Nutrition Info*
  • 264 calories
  • 40 g protein
  • 8 g carbs
  • 8 g fat

*per 6-ounce chicken breast, 2.5 servings

 

Dijon Salmon

by Chef Seth Santoro

Salmon is one of the best sources of healthy fats you can find, yet very few people seem to cook it for themselves at home. Why? My belief is that people are intimidated by cooking fish, thinking it's too complicated to prepare and will end up dry and tasteless. This doesn't have to be the case. The below salmon recipe is both easy to fix and delicious (and it won't end up too dry either). The combination of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, seasonings you probably have at home already, and the fats from the fish and olive oil is phenomenal. And best of all, it only takes 10-12 minutes in the oven. Enjoy, everyone.

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs salmon
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 small cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄8 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon slices
Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a rimmed baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, combine all of the above listed ingredients outside of the lemon slices. Mix well.

Cut salmon into even portions and lay them onto your lined baking dish, skin side down. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

Side note: Brown rice with sliced avocado and sauteed kale (pictured above) go well with Dijon salmon but are not included in this recipe.

Nutrition Info
  • 496 calories
  • 37 g protein
  • 4 g carbs
  • 25 g fat

 

Grass-Fed Bolognese

by Chef Seth Santoro

Jim's Italian, so I know he enjoys a good pasta dish when it fits his macros and/or he's carbing up for a photo shoot. I figure many other JYM Army members like Italian food too, so here's a great pasta and bolognese (meat sauce) dish to add to your repertoire for higher carb days.

This recipe provides a great, healthy source of lean protein via the grass-fed ground sirloin. More than that, this thick sauce is extremely rich in taste with all the other ingredients—garlic, basil. tomatoes, seasonings, coconut/olive oil, etc. To keep carbs in check, feel free to moderate the amount of pasta you cook up. Otherwise, go big and enjoy.

This is a great pasta dish for home that provides a nice break from the typical spaghetti you may be used to. It's also great for feeding a family (spouse, kids, etc.)—just increase the amounts of the ingredients, particularly the sirloin, if you're cooking for more than two people.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground sirloin
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • White truffle salt
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup (3 oz.) tomato paste
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes (canned is okay)
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme and oregano (dry is okay, too)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh pasta of choice (spaghetti, tagliatelle or pappardelle), cooked until al dente and drained
  • 4 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 4 chopped crimini mushrooms
  • Coarse sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions

Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, with pinch of salt until onion turns translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir in ground beef and cook, stirring constantly until meat is crumbly and no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add oregano and thyme season to meat mixture with 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of truffle salt. Cook until done.

In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut or olive oil and 1/4 cup chopped onions until translucent.  

Pour in paste, tomatoes and 6 ounces of water. Bring to an easy boil. Add chopped basil, mushrooms and thyme/oregano. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until mixture cooks down into a thick sauce. Sprinkle in white truffle salt and stir. If sauce is too thick or too hot on the bottom, add a little more water. Keep in mind that it's supposed to be a thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Cook pasta based on package instructions and try to keep it al dente or "firm."

In a large bowl, layer meat and pasta (either pasta on bottom or meat and the other ingredients on top). Top with sauce and sprinkle on fresh basil. Eat and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 736 calories
  • 44 g protein
  • 59 g carbs
  • 36 g fat

*Per serving—2 oz. pasta, 6 oz. beef, 1/2 cup sauce

Note: There are two ways to reduce calories in this meal: (1) Use cauliflower rice or less pasta. (2) You can also add the onions (but mince instead of chop the onions) after the meat has started to cook; that way, you don't use oil to brown the onions to start. This will reduce the meal by 140 calories and 14 grams of fat.

 

Lime Honey Swordfish

by Chef Seth Santoro

Getting regular servings of fish in your diet is important for getting the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs to function properly. Swordfish is a great source of these fats, as it's an oily fish that provides both EPA and DHA omega-3s. It's also a great source of vitamin D.

However, swordfish isn't exactly a common food people buy at the grocery store or market and bring home to cook—yet it should be. This recipe is one of my favorites when I'm in the mood for seafood, and it includes a super healthy vegetable as a side: Brussels sprouts.

Cook this meal up when you're looking to add a delicious whole food source of omega-3s to your weekly menu; you'll love the combination of lime juice, honey, oil, seasonings and grass-fed butter to add flavor to an otherwise standard fish and vegetable dish. In addition to tasting great, this recipe is loaded with protein, has ample healthy fats, and keeps carbs in check. Pair it with a glass of white wine (if you're into that sort of thing), and it's a near perfect meal!

Ingredients
  • (2) 4-6-ounce swordfish fillets (Mahi Mahi is a good substitute if you want)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 chopped Serrano or jalapeño pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • Sea salt, pepper and curry powder to taste
Directions

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over fish in a pan or dish. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let it marinate in fridge for at least an hour, turning fish once about halfway through marinating time. (I typically let mine marinate for about 3 hours, but 24 hours is ideal.)

Remove fish from fridge, and heat grill. Place fish on the grill and cook 2-4 minutes per side based on the thickness of the fish.

In a separate pan, add grass-fed butter and heat pan over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cover with lid for one minute. Add sea salt, black pepper and curry powder to taste. Sauté until Brussels sprouts are a little crispy and tender. (If you keep the lid on, it adds a steaming effect to reduce cooking time. However, it will be softer and less crispy.)

Serve Brussels sprouts on the side of the swordfish, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 494 calories
  • 37 g protein
  • 25 g carbs
  • 29 g fat

*Per serving (one 6-ounce swordfish filet and one cup of Brussels sprouts). This recipe serves two.

 

Grilled Steak and Broccoli

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

When the weather really warms up, it's time to bust out one of my favorite recipes for cooking on the grill. I'll be perfectly honest, this is an utterly simple recipe, so simple that it's basically common knowledge to any muscle-minded guy or girl. But I still think it's worth sharing, since it's such a great summertime staple.

We're talking about steak and broccoli on the grill. Nothing fancy, just one great source of protein and testosterone-boosting saturated fat along with one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. And the cooking time is fast and easy—around 10-15 minutes total.

Ingredients
  • 1 large steak*
  • 1 bunch or so of broccoli
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

*Select your favorite cut or the one you can afford. I prefer a nice T-bone to get the strip and filet in one steak. Other options include ribeye (a heavily marbled cut, of course), flank, London broil, skirt and round.  It's all about your preference and budget (watch out for grocery sales).

Directions

We go simple here—don’t mess up a good piece of meat. Salt and pepper both sides of the steak. That’s it.

Preheat your grill and get it HOT. Place steak on the grill, leave it ALONE for 5 minutes, turn it over, and leave it alone for another 2 to 3 minutes. You should have a nice medium steak. Adjust time accordingly for more or less done.

For the broccoli, cut into pieces roughly the size of a tennis ball or slightly larger. Don't cut it up too small or it will fall through the grill. Drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Place on the grill with steak, turning a few times to avoid burning.

Nutrition Info*
  • 906 calories
  • 78 grams protein
  • 22 grams carbs
  • 55 grams fat
  • 10 grams fiber

*These are estimated macros for a 10-ounce T-bone steak and two cups of broccoli. Nutrition facts will vary based on the cut of steak and the size of it. I erred on the conservative side with 10 ounces—I usually prefer a bigger steak than that!

Notes: Keep in mind, this meal is a one-person serving. If you're cooking for others, get more steaks and more broccoli! Also, a glass of red wine goes great with a steak!

 

Mandarin Orange and Chili Chicken Tenders

by Chef Seth Santoro

If you're tired of boring old chicken breasts, don't let them be boring anymore! Here's a quick and easy recipe using mandarin orange-inspired flavors to strike the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. To accompany the chicken, I included stir-fry brown rice and broccoli—two staple carbohydrate sources that will keep the meal clean as well as satisfying.

Time Involved: 10 minutes of prep, 10 minutes of cook time—20 minutes total. This is not including time to marinate. I recommend letting the chicken sit in the marinade for 24 hours for optimal flavor, but this isn't required. If it only marinates for 10 minutes, so be it.

Serves 2-3, depending on macro goals.

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs. chicken breast tenders*
  • 1/4 cup of juice from fresh mandarin oranges/tangerines (canned is okay, but less flavorful)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup/agave/honey
  • 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 1 chopped Serrano pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • Pre-cooked brown rice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

*Select what ever chicken pieces you prefer. Thigh meat always has the most flavor, but breast or tenders work and have lower fat content.

Directions

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together orange juice,  lime juice, pepper, chili flakes, cilantro, green onion, garlic, syrup and salt and pepper. (Keep around 1/4 of the marinade separate for rice and broccoli.) Add chicken to bowl and toss by hand. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in fridge for about an hour, turning chicken once about half way through marinating time. (Twenty-four hours is ideal; the longer it marinates, the more flavor it will have.)

Remove chicken from fridge. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat; add 2 tbsp of coconut oil. Add chicken to pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning chicken once halfway through.

In a separate pan, add 2 tbsp of coconut oil and heat pan over medium heat. Add broccoli and cover with a lid for one minute. Add leftover marinade and pre-cooked brown rice. Sauté until broccoli is tender (if you keep the lid on, it adds a steaming effect). Plate, and garnish with sliced green onions and orange pieces if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 490 calories
  • 43 g protein
  • 48 g carbs
  • 14 g fat
  • 8 g fiber

*Estimated macros based on 6 ounces of chicken and 1 cup of rice/broccoli mix.

 

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

by Chef Seth Santoro

Anyone who's into fitness and is conscious about his or her diet knows that chicken breasts can get old after awhile. I'm definitely a fan of adding more flavor to the boring chicken breast in a number of ways, but another thing I like to do is simply choose another part of the chicken from time to time—in this case thighs. Sure, the dark meat adds more fat to the meal, but it's still not too hard to fit that in your macros.

In the below recipe, the chicken thighs are delicious with the addition of several different spices. And I've also included your side dishes: fingerling potatoes and sprouts. If you're in a low-carb dieting phase, you can hold the potatoes. Otherwise, enjoy it all!

Ingredients
  • 6 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)
  • 4 cups fingerling potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 roughly chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme
  • 4 sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Directions

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rosemary and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, and turn and coat.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes, Brussels sprouts, shallots, garlic, lemon, and the other 2 tablespoons olive oil, then season.

Spread everything out in an even layer, and make sure the thighs are skin side up. Roast about 22-25 minutes, until sprouts are tender and juices from chicken run clear when pierced with a knife.

Serves 2—or one really hungry big guy!

Nutrition Info
  • 790 calories
  • 60 g protein
  • 70 g carbs
  • 30 g fat

 

Turkey Meatloaf

by Chef Seth Santoro

I've cooked up something great for you here—it's my secret recipe for a lean, mean, healthy meatloaf! I'm using ground turkey here instead of beef, but what really sets this recipe apart is the combination of flavors and ingredients that make it truly delicious. This isn't your mom's meatloaf, even though it will feed a full family (the recipe includes 5 pounds of turkey!). This is a dish that will help you build quality muscle and stay lean while also tasting great. Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 5 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs (progresso italian crumbs are tasty too)
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent (but not browned), approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste, and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 90 minutes. Keep in mind, this is 5 pounds of turkey, so have a large enough dish to cook it in or break it up into smaller loaf pans.

Nutrition Info*
  • 337 calories
  • 44 g protein
  • 20 g carbs
  • 9 g fat

*Per serving; a single serving is an 8-ounce slice of meatloaf.

Seth Santoro is a Los Angeles-based health and nutrition coach and founder of The Life Chef. Seth is a graduate of San Diego State University, holds a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners as a board-certified Holistic Health Coach.

 

Low-Carb Grass-Fed Burger Sliders

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

A hamburger or cheeseburger minus the bun is one of my go-to dinners when I’m leaning out on a low-carb diet. And grass-fed beef is definitely my go-to meat source when I’m eating a burger.

Grass-fed beef has healthier fats than grain-fed beef, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) omega 3s, and a ton of other key micronutrients and antioxidants. In fact, I actually prefer grass-fed beef that’s not super-lean. My go-to is typically 85% lean ground grass-fed beef, as opposed to 90% or 95%. Just remember, the benefits of grass-fed beef are found in the fat, so going too lean will negate some of those benefits. Studies also show that higher intakes of saturated fat, as well as monounsaturated fat, lead to higher testosterone levels in athletes. 

In the above video, I offer two versions of this sliders recipe – one where sweet potato slices stand in for the bun, and the other with lettuce. (The below recipe description and macros are for the lettuce version.) The sweet potato version only adds around 10 grams of carbs for three sliders.

I also show in the video how to cook the sliders on an indoor grill (a George Foreman grill) and in a frying pan; I did this specifically for people who live in cold-weather areas but still want to grill during the winter months.

So when it’s time to grill out – whether in the summer, fall, or even winter with an indoor grill – enjoy these delicious low-carb sliders. If you’re not on a low-carb diet, consider adding my Crispy Sweet Potato Fries as a side item (next recipe down).

Ingredients
  • 9 oz. Grass-fed ground beef
  • Ketchup Mayo Relish dressing (or other preferred dressing)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tomato
  • 1-2 slices cheese (optional; your choice of cheese)
Directions

Make small 3-ounce patties from grass-fed ground beef. (This recipe calls for three 3-ounce patties, but feel free to make more if you’re cooking for other people as well.) Prepare lettuce “cups” to put burgers in, mix dressing (ketchup, mayo, relish), and slice tomato.

Grill patties to desired doneness (with or without cheese), add a small amound of dressing to lettuce cups, and place patties in the cups. Top each slider with a tomato slice, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 685 calories
  • 58 g protein
  • 7 g carbs
  • 44 g fat

*Per three 3-ounce sliders with cheese.  

 

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

 

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

Just because you’re eating to be healthy and lean doesn’t mean you have to skip fries as a delicious side item with a steak or burger. Just make them sweet potato fries!

Sweet potatoes are an extremely healthy food – a good source of fiber, numerous vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, including beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes have been shown to fight cancer, boost brain function, and aid the immune system. And cooking them in olive oil adds heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

To make your sweet potatoes as enjoyable as possible, try this simple recipe to get that great crisp to them. Even my 7-year-old son loves these fries!

Ingredients
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • Olive oil
Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with olive oil (roughly 1/8”). Pre-heat the pan in the oven for around 10 minutes.

Slice a sweet potato into 1/8-inch slices or smaller to get the fries nice and crispy, then carefully place the fries on the baking sheet so that they do not touch one another.

Bake for around 10-15 minutes. (Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fries.) Flip the fries midway through if desired or if oil level is too low. Remove from oven, add salt and enjoy!

Nutrition Info*
  • 231 calories
  • 2 g protein
  • 26 g carbs
  • 14 g fat
  • 4 g fiber

*Per one sweet potato and 1 Tbsp of olive oil.

 

Low-Carb Chicken-Fried Steak

 

by Dr. Jim Stoppani

The name of this recipe says it all: It’s chicken-fried steak, and it’s low-carb! Very high in protein, high in fat, but ZERO carbs. And, of course, it’s delicious and physique-friendly.

You should never have to sacrifice tasty foods when trying to get (or stay) lean. This recipe is living proof of that!

Ingredients
  • 0.5 lb. Cube steak (separated into two flat patties)
  • Chicharrones (pork rinds), ground
  • 1-2 eggs (for dipping steaks in)
  • Olive oil (or other oil of choice)
Directions

Grind up a handful or two of chicharrones in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, scramble one or two raw eggs.

Pre-heat oil in a frying pan. Dip steaks in egg, then coat both sides in ground chicharrones. Fry steaks in oil, flipping halfway through, until all the way cooked.

Nutrition Info*
  • 551 calories
  • 65 g protein
  • 0 g carbs
  • 33 g fat

 





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